Some highlights of the 1700 photos my students took while we were on our voyage this week. There are a bunch I can’t put up here of my students being wicked brave and totally awesome. That picture of me laughing/smiling is pretty much how I felt the whole time I was there. My kids are hilarious and brave and kind and amazing.
The kids climbed a 25-foot tree to a platform and jumped off (while harnessed/belayed, of course). They rock climbed, told jokes, navigated, cooked their own food, and looked out for one another. This group of students is incredibly empathetic, and I was so proud to see them support and take care of each other. We stayed in platform tents both nights; the original plan was platform tents the first night and tarps the second night. However, it was far too cold and damp to have the kids sleeping under tarps on moist ground, so we stayed in platform tents both nights.
What isn’t pictured: my epic air guitar performance at CHALLENGE NIGHT. Be sad you missed it.
Adventure education/outward bound is such an integral part of my school and the culture we are able to build. Kids learn so much about themselves through these twice-yearly experiences. We head out into nature to learn how to expand our comfort zones and learn in our growth zones (ZPD, for those of us tight with Vygotsky). I love that I am able to see my students in a different environment. There are some students that may not shine academically, but are incredibly confident and successful when they’re asked to rock climb or figure out how to use a compass. I get to relate to them in a completely different way. I’m not a teacher who’s asking them to read or do a math problem or explain their thinking. I’m encouraging them to push themselves in a non-academic setting; I’m asking them how they knew that, learning things, and putting myself in my own “growth zone” by doing these things with them.
These experiences build our culture, and it is so intentional. The facilitators at our camp this year were so focused on having students work together and support one another. I’m going to have a lot to pull from when we get back into the classroom together next week. What’s amazing is that these kids do a lot of outdoorsy stuff. They go with their families and we practically live in the mountains where I am, yet there is always something new for them to learn or experience. We are truly educating the whole child.
Adventure education — it’s where it’s at, guys. I wish more schools had/could have this type of program. It’s tremendous and invaluable.